A Guide to Creating an Effective Attendance Program
Improving Attendance and Boosting Productivity
A good attendance program can motivate employees to maintain consistent attendance while promoting a healthy and balanced work environment. Here are some helpful tips to help today's manufacturers stay productive.
In our fast-paced world, productivity is key, and this rings especially true in the manufacturing sector. According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, the manufacturing sector's absenteeism rates have steadily increased over the past few years . In 2023, the average absenteeism rate was 13.2 days per full-time employee, up from 9.9 days in 2018, a 3.3-day increase over five years.
Furthermore, a Manulife report shows that absenteeism costs Canadian companies nearly $645 million annually . It's not just lost wages; it's also reduced productivity, increased workload for other employees, and potential overtime costs. These statistics underscore the significant impact of employee attendance on productivity levels and the bottom line.
Creating An Attendance Program: Tips and Guidelines
Define Goals & Set an Internal Benchmark: Setting internal benchmarks is a strategic process that can help manufacturers measure the success of their attendance program. It's important to define what the program aims to achieve clearly. Is it reducing absenteeism, improving productivity levels, or boosting employee morale? Then, measure the current state of attendance. This involves tracking the number of absences and lateness over a specific period, the reasons for absences or tardiness, any patterns or trends in absenteeism and tardiness, and the cost to the company regarding productivity and efficiency.
Set Clear Guidelines, Communicate & Train: A good program is easy to understand and implement. Clear guidelines remove ambiguity, ensure all employees understand the program and its benefits, and set expectations for employee behaviour. Establishing clear attendance standards, guidelines for rewarding positive behaviour, and penalties for absences through a policy will help create success. It can also address different types of absences, such as sick leave, personal leave, mental health days, and vacation days, and how these impact the program. It is important to ensure that all employees are informed about the program and that managers and supervisors are trained to implement it effectively within their teams.
Equitable and Fair: Creating a fair program for all employees, regardless of their position, role, or tenure, gives everyone equal opportunities to benefit from the rewards. Ensuring that all employees are fairly recognized and rewarded with incentives of equal value and significance would be beneficial. Also, consider the legitimate reasons an employee may be absent from work, such as illnesses, family emergencies, or parental leave. Encouraging sick employees to come to work is not ideal, especially if they are contagious. Penalizing these absences might lead to a program that seems discriminatory or insensitive. To address this, manufacturers can consider a system distinguishing between unavoidable and avoidable absences.
Engage Employees: Involve employees in the planning and implementation to ensure buy-in and commitment. Conduct a quick internal survey to determine what motivates employees to come to work and stay engaged. This will help you discover what programs will most benefit your workforce. Manufacturers can also ask for program feedback, create a committee of involved employees to help design and evangelize the program internally, develop a test group to assist in discovering unforeseen issues and adjust the program before rolling it out company wide.
Regular Monitoring and Evaluation: This is an important step in the life cycle of any attendance program. It ensures that the program meets its intended objectives and allows for necessary modifications. Track and analyze the same data used in the benchmarking process to show progression or regression in the data. Conduct regular check-ins or surveys with employees to assess their satisfaction with the program. It can be extremely helpful to gauge the program's effectiveness by analyzing its reception and impact on attendance.
Adjustments Based on Feedback and Data: Use the insights gained from monitoring and evaluating to tweak the program. This could involve adjusting the rewards, the criteria for perfect attendance, or even how the program is communicated. The key is to be responsive and flexible, showing employees that their feedback is taken seriously and used to make improvements.
Formal Review Periods: Set specific times for formal reviews of the program - for instance, every six months or annually. These can involve a thorough evaluation of all aspects of the program and a plan for implementing any necessary changes.
Health & Wellness Programs: Sometimes, poor attendance is due to health issues. A health and wellness program promoting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce absenteeism. These programs can include fitness challenges, mental health resources, or incentives for regular health check-ups. Consider offering several health check days or half-days employees can use for routine doctor visits, dental visits, or lab work. Health days will encourage employees to stay on top of their health while not going against their allotted PTO or sick days.
Looking to build a rewards for your attendance program? See our Ideas for Attendance Program Rewards article.
 Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0191-01 Work absence of full-time employees by industry, annual
 Manulife, The Wellness Report 2022: Key Findings